Marc Ross Daily
March 20, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross
Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia
Marc Ross Daily = Global Business News at the Intersection of Politics + Policy + Profits
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✔️ Germany's long, slow and carefully considered attack on Tesla
✔️ Trump’s tariffs are already taxing patience
✔️ Trump prepared to hit China with $60 billion in annual tariffs
✔️ Kamala Harris is dreaming big
✔️ Facebook is pummeled by user-data blowback
What America's corporate titans really think about Trump's tariffs: They might be silent. They might not be storming CNBC. They might be leaning on their lobbyists too much.
But believe you me - many think these tariffs stink.
American business believes that tariffs will do more harm than good in bringing about an improvement in intellectual property protection for American companies in China.
Business wants to see solutions to the issues, not just sanctions.
Business wants to see certainty, not just campaign rhetoric.
It has repeatedly been said for years, everyone agrees China needs to adopt a stricter deterrent against counterfeiting and IP theft - including doing away with joint venture and business licensing requirements that can be used to mandate technology transfers to gain market access. Even businesses headquartered in China know the current IP regime is not world class and will hinder China's rise.
What Trump should be doing is leading.
Harnessing a focused effort using the extensive resources of the US government to fix these IP problems is better than imposing tariffs that will bring collateral damage to American households, farmers, and manufacturers.
Trump seems content to enter a fight and throw the first punch. It has yet been made clear to me what happens when the other side punches back. I mean, he isn't fighting mano a mano. Beijing has a say in all this, and not to mention Brussels and even Brasília.
As the business guru Mike Tyson stated: "Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth."
Germany's long, slow and carefully considered attack on Tesla: HG reports, they have been trailing the US e-car pioneer for years but now VW, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW are pumping billions into mass producing their own electric cars. Tesla's German competition will get really serious this year.
Trump’s tariffs are already taxing patience: LAT reports, the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are set to take effect Friday, but the rollout is being criticized as confusing, rushed and potentially crisis-inducing. Overseas, officials aren’t sure how to negotiate to avoid paying the duties, because the White House hasn’t given specifics.
Bloomberg: US plans heavy China tariff hit as soon as this week
WP: Trump prepared to hit China with $60 billion in annual tariffs: Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against Chinese products, following through on a longtime threat that he says will punish China for intellectual property theft and create more US jobs. Most US businesses agree with the Trump administration’s criticisms of China. But many disagree with the administration’s strategy. “The US-China Business Council believes that tariffs will do more harm than good in bringing about an improvement in intellectual property protection for American companies in China,” said John Frisbie, president of the council, a nonpartisan group of 200 US companies that do business with China. “Business wants to see solutions to the issues, not just sanctions.” The US-China Business Council noted that many states – including some swing states that propelled to an unexpected victory in 2016 – have seen sharp increases in exports to China. Over the decade ending 2016, Pennsylvania’s exports of goods to China increased 83 percent, twice the rate as its exports to the rest of the world. And Pennsylvania’s exports of services jumped more than four-fold, more than five times the pace as its services exports to the rest of the world. Exports from Michigan, another state Trump won, showed a similar pattern. https://goo.gl/YkTwh9
Bloomberg: China pledges action on tech transfer as Trump plans tariffs: China made further promises to protect the intellectual property of foreigners investing in its economy, addressing a long-standing grievance as Trump plans new tariffs aimed at Beijing. “Businesses are very much in a position that they want to see China take action, and talking about it isn’t sufficient any more,” John Frisbie, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, said of Li’s speech. “And it has to be tangible actions that matter.” https://goo.gl/da4DAz
CNBC: The business community's uncertainty about US-China relations (video): A solution is what the business community wants, not just "something that's going to do collateral damage to both economies," says John Frisbie of the US-China Business Council. https://goo.gl/Ed9WUX
China approves giant propaganda machine to improve global image: Bloomberg reports, the new broadcaster will be called “Voice of China,” the person said, mimicking the US government-funded Voice of America that started up during World War II to advance American interests.
NYT - Kevin Rudd OpEd: What the West doesn’t get about Xi Jinping: For the last five years, Western leaders and analysts have often projected onto China an image of their preferred imaginings, rather than one reflecting the actual statements of China’s own leaders, or in the physical evidence of Chinese statecraft. These have long pointed to a vastly different reality. https://goo.gl/FBBMA1
Jim O'Neill: Missing the Forest for the Xi https://goo.gl/YQiq2s
Xi Jinping promises more assertive Chinese foreign policy: FT reports, president parts decisively with the caution of the previous era in Beijing’s international relations.
Xi Jinping warns against dividing China after US passes Taiwan law: WSJ reports, attempts to split China ‘will receive the condemnation of the people and the punishment of history,’ president says.
Five important takeaways from China’s National People’s Congress: The annual meeting of China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, is usually a sleepy, stolid affair. But this year history happened. In the 16-day session that ended on Tuesday, the Communist Party-controlled congress approved changes that could shape China for decades, especially by stretching President Xi Jinping’s hold on power far into the future. https://goo.gl/usgcTB
China wants to shape the global future of artificial intelligence: MIT Tech Review reports, drawing up technical standards is an early attempt to control how AI evolves worldwide. https://goo.gl/snAfdi
2020 Dems staff up: Politico reports, at least a dozen potential candidates are bolstering their teams by adding aides with campaign experience. The hires are never explicitly advertised or designed to be about 2020. But the behind-the-scenes shuffle is a long-overdue stage in the traditional precampaign scramble. Potential candidates who have run before — like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden — largely have their core teams in place. https://goo.gl/CcsnHU
Kamala Harris is dreaming big https://goo.gl/WeWDP5
Bidden - Harris 2020
Most Americans produce services, not stuff. Trump ignores that in talking about trade. NYT reports, the president’s outlook on service workers could have real economic consequences. https://goo.gl/YDpWjK
NYT: Trump’s tariffs set off storm of lobbying
Cambridge Analytica isn't into going door to door to win campaigns: An undercover investigation by Channel 4 News of Britain captured the firm’s CEO, Alexander Nix, suggesting the entrapment of a potential client’s political opponents with women and bribes. Britain’s information commissioner is now seeking a warrant to examine the firm’s data. And Facebook has hired a forensics firm to audit it.
NYT: Cambridge Analytica, Trump-tied political firm, offered to entrap politicians
WSJ: Facebook is pummeled by user-data blowback
Cambridge Analytica’s ad targeting is the reason Facebook exists: Thousands of third-party apps were designed solely to obtain and sell your data. It's no surprise that the data ended up being used again on Facebook, one of the biggest advertising platforms on Earth. https://goo.gl/ovQKKz
Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer, is planning to leave the social media giant amid internal disputes over how the platform should disclose its role in spreading disinformation, according to current and former employees.
"The uproar pushed Facebook's stock down 6.8% to $172.56 Monday, wiping out about $36 billion in market value."
Facebook will hold an emergency meeting to let employees ask questions about Cambridge Analytica.
WSJ: LinkedIn’s $27 billion challenge: Get people to use it more
Uber has stopped its driverless operations in four US cities after one of its self-driving cars hit and killed a woman in Arizona — probably the first pedestrian fatality of its kind.
SpaceX has entered into preliminary negotiations with the Port of Los Angeles for a lease that would expand the company’s port facilities to manufacture “large commercial transportation vehicles.”
Amazon has reportedly considered buying Toys “R” Us stores, for the real estate.
Claire's Stores, the pre-teen mall jewelry shop, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US and reportedly plans to close some underperforming stores.
Why Crate and Barrel’s CEO isn’t worried about Amazon: WSJ reports, furniture chain embraces Instagram and YouTube but won’t sell its wares on Amazon.
Cheddar, the CNBC for the Snapchat generation, has raised $22 million from Raine Ventures, Liberty Global and the CEO of the NYSE’s parent company.
Five brand lessons 10 years after Visa's historic IPO https://goo.gl/2NXumU
Retail's middle ground is a dangerous place: A new study finds low-end and premier chains thriving; the rest, not so much. https://goo.gl/iAj9Ft
Avoid the mushy middle.
Quartz: Tiger Brands’ “old playbook of PR distraction” was no match for South Africans on Twitter https://goo.gl/keo4k5
In the age of the “see-through economy,” consumers demand immediate accountability from manufacturers.
Is technology hurting productivity? It is possible that new technologies are not just doing less to boost productivity than past innovations. They may actually have negative side effects that undermine productivity growth, and that reduce our wellbeing in other ways as well. https://goo.gl/AhMv9y
The battery boost we’ve been waiting for is only a few years out: WSJ reports, batteries that power our modern world are expected to get a jump in storage capacity of 30% or more.
McClatchy: Self-driving cars are here. But shouting Californians are attacking them, DMV sayshttps://goo.gl/xDAJdu
Brian Eno wants to take you ‘inside the music’: The British musician is collaborating with other artists to create a high-tech, immersive experience that will tour Europe and America. https://goo.gl/fRf2a2
AP: Morocco bid: $16 billion for 2026 World Cup venues, infrastructure
"Morocco would need to spend almost $16 billion to prepare to host the 2026 World Cup, with every proposed stadium and training ground built from scratch or renovated, the bid said Saturday."